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Candi Staton’s Disco Classic ‘Young Hearts Run Free’ Was Inspired by an Abusive Husband Who Almost Killed Her (Exclusive)

The singer tells this story in “Disco: Soundtrack of a Revolution,” broadcast in June on PBS.

Candi Staton tells the heartbreaking story of her hit disco classic, “Young Hearts Run Free.”

In a PEOPLE exclusive clip from the PBS documentary Disco: soundtrack to a revolutionthe singer, 84, revealed that the track, released in 1976, was inspired by a near-death experience she had at the hands of a “dangerous” ex-husband.

Staton recalls the last night of a Las Vegas appearance opening for Ray Charles, during which she decided to sit in the audience and watch the headliner’s set, angering her anonymous ex, who she saw looking for her but ignored.

“That’s the night he went completely crazy,” the “Nights on Broadway” singer said in the clip.

“My suite was… way up on the 20th floor and he pushed me… he pushed me all the way down the hall to the elevator,” said of the moments after his attacker found her.



<p>PBS</p>
<p> Candi Staton on Disco: The Soundtrack to a Revolution” src=”https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/ryGNKMDhJc8_HzzEsCYtBg–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTY0MQ–/https://media.zenfs. com/en/people_218/5ab32a697bd9532d1ed3a6cbeefe3177″/></p>
<p>PBS</p>
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PBS

Candi Staton on Disco: Soundtrack to a Revolution

When they got to their room, Staton remembered her then-husband saying, “I’m going to kill you tonight” and adding, “I’ll tell you what I’m going to do, I’m going to throw you off the balcony.” »

Staton then said the man picked her up and showed her how he held her over the hotel suite’s balcony railing.

She remembers thinking, “This man is going to kill me tonight,” before saving her own life.

“I said, ‘You know, you’re in this hotel and it’s owned by the mafia… we’re in Las Vegas now,'” Staton said in the documentary.

“I said, ‘You need to get out of here. You need to get out of here. How are you going to feel with my body splattered down there and my name on the marquee,'” she continued, pointing finger down as she spoke.

“And I said, ‘You’re not getting out of Vegas,'” she continued, noting that her partner thought about her argument and “took me back.”



<p>Jon Super/Redferns</p>
<p> Candi Staton performing in 1970″ src=”https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/qvhHbg9vYGEBEYOBwQRejA–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTY0MDtoPTk2MA–/https://media.zenfs.com/en/people_218/ 2474aba418113a18e4293ecafa5d9c40″/></p>
<p>Jon Super/Redferns</p>
<p> Candi Staton performing in 1970″ src=”https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/qvhHbg9vYGEBEYOBwQRejA–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTY0MDtoPTk2MA–/https://media.zenfs.com/en/people_218/ 2474aba418113a18e4293ecafa5d9c40″ class=”caas-img”/></p></div>
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Jon Super/Redferns

Candi Staton performing in 1970

But from Staton’s recollection, he wasn’t done threatening her. When she was up, he said, “I’ll tell you what I’m going to do, I’m just going to shoot you.”

“I was so tired I laid down on the bed. I said, ‘Okay, shoot me.’ I fell asleep,” she told the cameras, adding that he had a gun.

“He had a gun like this,” she said, pointing. “I said, ‘Shoot me, I won’t know… forget it.'”

At the end of the clip, she said that this experience inspired “Young Hearts Run Free”.

The song begins with the lyrics: “What is the meaning of sharing this one and only life/Ending up like another lost and lonely woman.” »

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<p>Harry Herd/Redferns</p>
<p> Candi Staton performs in England in July 2023″ src=”https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/6hLV0IAv7L79BQORKGEDGg–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTY0MQ–/https://media.zenfs.com/en /people_218/ab454a43d754c7db85e6fd9de31b7169″/></p>
<p>Harry Herd/Redferns</p>
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Harry Herd/Redferns

Candi Staton performs in England in July 2023

By a 2021 Dig In this article, the song’s producer, David Crawford, wrote the song for Stanton after she told him she was having trouble getting out of her abusive relationship while they were having lunch together in Los Angeles.

It’s unclear if she told him about her night of near-death experiences in Las Vegas at the time, but he reportedly told her he was going to write her an empowerment anthem.

“I’m going to write you a song that will last forever,” he told his friend. Dig.

Since then, the song has inspired groups of people who face discrimination, such as the LGBTQIA community.

Disco: soundtrack to a revolution broadcast June 18 on PBS. PBS is also offering a special advance broadcast to viewers on PBS.org and the PBS app beginning June 1.

If you are a victim of domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or go to thehotline.org. All calls are free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.

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